Casts of Side Man and You Never Can Tell outside their newly reopened theatres. Quoted in story: Jere Shea, second from left in top row; Robert Sean Leonard and Catherine Kellner fifth and sixth from left in top row; Frank Wood, second from right in front row.
Roundabout Theatre Company's two Criterion Center theatres relit July 28, and the casts of the two shows -- Side Man and You Never Can Tell -- celebrated by cheering and waving Playbills from their shows in front of the theatre at 45th Street and Broadway in New York.
Both were sidelined for a week after a July 21 construction accident on nearby 43rd Street killed one and injured 12, causing the surrounding streets to be closed, but, as actor Jere Shea said, "It was tough to enjoy and know that real tragedy happened. But now the fun begins again."
Shea, best known for starring in Stephen Sondheim's Passion, and now appearing in George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell, Shea said he spent the week, "Kicking back with my wife and children. We went all over Connecticut, mostly to the beaches." Shea said his unexpected vacation was hard to stretch from one day to the next, since they never knew when the theatre would reopen and had to be ready each day for the possibility of going on that night.
Kellner and Shea's fellow cast member Robert Sean Leonard said he spent his free time visiting his niece and nephew in New Jersey, "swimming and pretending I was just another normal person."
Frank Wood, who plays the jazz-obsessed father in Side Man, said he took the opportunity to visit his family in Boston and to see other New York plays: The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Judas Kiss, R & J, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Gross Indecency.
He said he hasn't had any contact with the Cabaret cast, and said he misses spending time with them at Cafe Un Deux Trois, the unofficial Roundabout clubhouse on West 43rd Street, which also was closed by the calamity.
Catherine Kellner, who appears with Shea and Leonard in You Never Can Tell, said she had been feeling ill July 21, and was considering asking that her understudy to go on when she learned of the collapse.
"I heard about it from the company manager on my answering machine, and I thought, 'I'm sick, I must be hallucinating.'"
Kellner said immediately thought of the cast of Cabaret, another Roundabout show that has been unable to reopen (as of July 31) because it was running at a theatre adjacent to the construction site. "I had been in California the previous day and saw Natasha Richardson, Ron Rifkin and the director (Sam Mendes) on the plane coming back. As I was passing through first class on the way to my seat I heard her saying she had just two weeks left [before she was scheduled to complete her Tony-winning run in the show Aug. 2]. She seemed both sad and happy. So when I heard [about the cancellation] she was the first thing I thought of. I feel so sorry for Cabaret. Those people must be so devastated."